Friday, 29 April 2011

You may have already recovered and do not know it

"AA's Twelfth Step, carrying the message, is the basic service that our fellowship gives; it is our principal aim and the main reason for our existence. AA is more than a set of principles; it is a society of recovered alcoholics in action. We must carry AA's message; otherwise, we ourselves may fall into decay, and those who have not yet been given the truth may die." ('Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age', 139:4)

I used to believe that I would never recover from alcoholism, that I would always be recovering. God was somewhere in the distant future, over the rainbow, in a place where my problems had all been solved and I had no emotional disturbances any more. In the meantime, I would have to struggle through the suffering of this particular realm, being grateful that it wasn't quite as bad as it used to be. God was an empty concept, a distant memory or a distant dream.

I had missed the whole show.

Eighty years ago, alcoholics like me simply did not recover except in rare cases of spontaneous remission brought about by an involuntary spiritual experience.

The universal consciousness seems to have progressed, and spontaneous remission (possibly a technical term for the 'Grace of God'), accompanied by a catapulting into a Twelve Step fellowship, appears to be a regular occurrence.

Somehow, the Grace of God separated me from alcohol in 1993. The miracle happened then, and the job, now, is to ensure I remain sufficiently in contact with God that the obsession with alcohol as a solution does not return.

I have recovered: I do not drink, I do not want to drink, and, on the rare occasions that a drink crosses my mind, I am protected by Powers far greater than even my ego.

Seeking a better relationship with the God who separated me from alcohol and has kept me separated since 1993 is necessary merely in order never to drink, but, serendipitously, this relationship has, indeed, solved all of my other problems, my problems being not my life or my circumstances but my reaction to them. My troubles are, indeed, of my own making (cf. 62:2, 'Alcoholics Anonymous').

When the argument is presented that we are always recovering, the evidence cited is the persistence of the full range of human emotions and challenges.

The perception can be that to be human is a sickness that needs to be healed, hence the permanent state of recovery. Apart from the fact that this pathologises the human condition, which is deluded and depressing, it misses two key points:

(1) once a sufficient relationship with God is established, we recover and do not drink—presenting recovery as the unattainable goal of the future misses the fact that the miracle has already happened—we are, in effect, happy and do not know it;

(2) whilst we are convinced that our primary purpose is to further our own recoveries (because 'recovery' is the unattainable goal of the future towards which we must work), our primary purpose will not be helping other people to the miracle themselves.

"But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven't got." (164:2)

If the theory is that you can never recover and will always be sick, this line can be used (and is used) to justify retaining the focus on 'one's own recovery'—having a primary purpose of helping others is sometimes presented as an elaborate form of denial of one's own 'sickness' and a demonstration of arrogance (as though we had brought about our own recoveries through hard work without the key factor being the Grace of God).

It is possible that far more people in AA have recovered from alcoholism than believe it—whilst the belief persists in one's own 'sickness', the real job, showing others how we were given help (124:2), will be missed, as we attempt to 'resolve' our human condition as our prime focus.

If you are an alcoholic as described in the Book 'Alcoholics Anonymous' (see, particularly, 44:1), yet you haven't drunk for years, and not drinking, for you, is effortless, requiring no concerted thought or action to that particular end (cf. 85:0), God has already entered your heart to expel the obsession.

Wake up! Wake up! You have the Power of the Universe already activated in your life. Contact that Power—let it use you to take you beyond your current world of perceived limitation, and let that Power flood into every area of your life and spill over into the lives of those around you.

Stop believing your own mind: you have a goldfish bowl on your head painted on the inside with hellish visions of your own conjuring.

Smash the bowl.


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